Every organisation needs sales. That's especially true for the channel, where success directly correlates with keeping people focused on hitting and smashing targets. However, as the old saying goes there's no I in TEAM. Success is a team responsibility and finding ways to build sales and marketing teams that gel comes down to great leadership and a solid plan. The right culture is also paramount. That comes from people knowing themselves and others well. So how can you create team spirit that will give everyone the best chance to succeed?
We think the answer lies in producing team events that encompass learning and sharing best practice, as well as challenges that encourage problem solving and having fun.
It's an approach we've been taking recently with sales and marketing teams that are using inbound marketing techniques for the first time.
Inbound is a bit daunting if you've never done it before. There's quite a bit to get your head around and it can feel like the blind leading the blind if there's no core expertise in the team.
It's important to have in mind that a good event involves both education and strategy but in particular, in an email for sales and marketing session, it should aim to bring the different functional teams together so they unify around one common goal - more loyal customers.
Sales and marketing teams are known for being at odds, and so your training must help the others see the value they bring, and the how one can't operate without the other. As part of this you need to help them see how regular communication and using technology at its optimum (like HubSpot) can make them the best at what they do.
It's also worth ensuring people have fun. The fun element of the event should be squarely in the middle of things as it is what will make it memorable and ensure what they learn sticks. The best events will encourage people to work together to solve a common challenge and break down the barriers. It will underline the point you made - working together makes you ten times better.
Hosting learning events away from the office, that are dedicated to each facet of the process and providing tips and ideas to get started and develop campaigns are brilliant ways to get everyone up to the same level of knowledge very quickly.
They can be structured around the company strategy, technology and tools you'll use, and include group exercises that get people producing a tangible plan of action. Done well, people leave with a sense of personal development and confidence.
Having everyone in the same place and far from distractions helps people commit to the day and more importantly, the resulting plan, and it gives everyone a chance to check their understanding before they do. It helps uncover any weaknesses or blindspots and ensures everyone understands the challenges and the opportunities.
It's also an ideal time to do some team building. By which we mean get people to take part in something totally unrelated that will exercise their brain in a different way and help them strengthen relationships - not simply end the day by going to the pub.
We've found that the enthusiasm for escape rooms and 'Crystal Maze' style challenges is worth considering when planning such an event. However, it's not everyone's cup of tea to don a boiler suit and climb through a spider's web - they can feel uncomfortable and exposed. That has to be respected, we are after all, building teams not breaking them.
Instead we've developed city treasure hunts where teams compete for a prize. It ticks a lot of boxes - people see the city you have taken them to, not just the hotel, people have to think and use a their wit, and thirdly, it brings out a sense of competition you need in a sales team.
In our most recent delivery, we've developed an app to support the event and the team build activity. The app, which is fully branded for the client, has everything in one place - itinerary, hotel info, agendas for the day, reminders on what to bring and where to be, and information on who is going - especially useful if you are bringing people from different parts of the organisation, different countries or different countries together for the first time.
It also allows you and participants to share updates throughout the event just as you would on Instagram or Twitter. So if there are changes to the schedule, or photos of things in train it can all be shared in real-time. It helps to make people feel connected.
But the most exciting part of the app is that it allowed us to run a treasure hunt through it. People were put into teams and had to use the app to complete challenges and find clues hidden around the city. Each time they completed a challenge they could unlock codes in the app which racked up points. And points meant prizes, or at least the satisfaction of getting to the top of the leaderboard, which updated in real-time.
It gave way for some ingenuity to crack the clues and as the route took the participants past famous landmarks and the odd pub, the net result was that people had a chance to bond and decompress after an intense day of strategy. Plus, with options to get bonus points - such as by posting selfies on the wall - and even, dare we say, bend the rules, it made for a very entertaining and memorable adventure.
We've shared just one way to bring people together and get them enthused about a strategy. Whatever approach you take you need to recognise that inbound technology does not work alone. It will not deliver you results all by itself. It needs people to use it wisely from across the organisation - people working together towards the common goal. In short you need a great tool stack, great people to get great results.